Social distancing, its resultant isolation of the general population and other measures such as quarantine are all necessary if we are to successfully stem the transmission rates of COVID-19. The subsequent effects of social isolation measures used to control the spread of COVID-19 however, are negatively impacting the mental health of many. One of the common methods of coping with stress, which can have a further negative effect on both physical and mental health, is excessive alcohol use.* It is well known that alcohol use can increase during periods of disaster and pandemic, and that alcohol use post-disaster does not necessarily return to normal levels over time.^~ Studies have found alcohol consumption use has increased “a lot more” in up to 6.1% of the general population, and at least “a little more” in 24% to 27% of the Australian population. The increase use and abuse of these substances, and the pandemic outbreak itself, have been associated with negative emotions, such as irritability, anxiety, fear, sadness, anger or boredom#.
Saunders Safety & Training (SS&T) understand the need for employers to continuously monitor and improve their policies and support systems guiding their people in safe and durable work practices. A thorough Drug & Alcohol Policy will undoubtedly help an organisation manage the increasing use and abuse of Drugs and Alcohol which has serious potential to spill over into the workplace. These policies can be used to support the affected employee and their colleagues own health and welfare through possible rehabilitative programs and disciplinary action processes.
Has your policy been reviewed since the global pandemic commenced? With the ever changing needs of the worker owing to the effects of the pandemic, coupled with recent and ongoing precedential decisions in the Industrial Relations space, now is the time to act. SS&T, in partnership with ER Strategies have the resources and know-how to support your organisation in this ever-changing environment.